24 Jan

This resolution (to write at least one blog post per week) is really not very resolve-y, it turns out.

I’m too tired or I’m too lazy or I just forget about it. For someone who has, at times, claimed to be a writer, I’m not very good at writing with any consistency. But this has been a problem throughout my writing lifetime, and separate from blogging, too. I love to write, but it’s hard to make it a habit. And without it being a habit, I can’t really say I’m a writer, I don’t think.

To me the legitimacy of someone calling themselves a writer has always rested less on whether or not they’re published or famous or even good at writing, and more on the mere fact of their writing – that they do it with regularity, and that they derive some sense of pleasure or accomplishment from it. I’ve got all the pleasure and none of the regularity, but I guess I’m working on it.

Writing poetry was so much easier for me, easier even than blogging I think, because it can be so short, and so quick, and so spontaneous or impetuous. I tend to have more of a steady flow from brain to paper when it comes to poetry – I edit myself along the way much less, mostly saving that for afterwards. Or, at least, when I do edit-as-I-go it just goes more quickly when it comes to poetry. For some reason when I work on my fiction or screenplays or even my personal essays, I lose that ability to just flow – I am constantly pausing, backtracking, writing, editing, rewriting, editing again, even before the words have hit the page. But poetry as a form has lost its allure for me – the shine has been off that apple for awhile now. I can’t dissociate it from my awkward youth, and so I can’t, ultimately, dissociate it from awkwardness in general.

Today I looked at some books about the publishing industry and then laughed at myself – it turns out you have to write a book before you can get one published. If I could sell someone my unfinished scripts, my high school poetry, my personal essay work, and all the beginnings of all the chapters of all the books I never finished – I would be in a good place right now.

6 Responses to “resolutionFAIL”

  1. Suzanne Fuller January 24, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    I always enjoy reading your blog Emi, and it makes me smile that you decided to theme this particular post on writing itself.

    I never thought or considered writing until I went to Metro. I remember shadowing Constance before I enrolled. Matt chose her because she took drawing, something I was very passionate about (and still am, when I can be bothered). That particular day during the Creative Writing class we took a trip to Julie’s house, just behind the school. I was so enamoured with the whole experience that I absolutely HAD to take Creative Writing. By the next year Mary Kay was teaching. If I considered myself a ‘good’ writer, I’d put it all down to her. She is an incredible human being who believed in everyone and everything. I felt compelled to write, and now it’s my passion. It was refreshing to be able to write whatever you wanted and not be censored, not even at open mic during First Friday (something I would be terrified of until I was behind the mic, spilling my guts to sometimes complete strangers.

    When I went to Cosmetology School, writing took a massive back-step in my life. Occasionally I would pick up my journal and scribble out whatever mindless thought I had, but it just wasn’t there. Hairdressing can take over your life, and it was only 6 years into my career that I forced it back to bring writing forward again. Boy was I glad I did that, or I might have lost my mind. It’s crazy how much I rely on it now, whether it be Fiction, Poetry or mindless rambles.

    I took a class last year online called “Start Writing Fiction”. I dedicated every waking moment to it, delving myself into the advice and stories my lecturer was handing out. The reason I’m telling you this is for the advice on editing he gave me and my fellow classmates. If you edit as you’re writing, you’ll never finish. They call it “self-censoring”. It was a difficult habit to break, and before I took this class I’d never actually finished a Short Story or Novel idea. They recommend that you write it all out, no editing whatsoever, and two weeks after you finish is when you go back in. Your brain, by that time, has a fresh outlook. I also believe that having your close friends, people whom you trust, to read and help you. Constructive criticism, of course. If someone just tells you “I don’t like it.” or “It sucks!” without giving you reasons WHY, then it’s not exactly helpful.

    By the time November rolls around again, and if you have the time, or feel you can make the time, I’d recommend NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). From the 1st of November to the 30th, you are to write a 50,000 word novel. It doesn’t matter how crap it is, and they ask that you do not edit it whatsoever until you are done. It’s a way to force yourself to do something with your passion. By the time I had considered it, and I was reluctant, I had only finished Short Stories and had a few Novel ideas. But somehow, I did it. In fact, I wrote roughly 72,000 words by the end of the month. The Novel is my baby, and I am currently editing it to send off to an agent. The thought terrifies me. Having others read your work is like letting someone into your mind.

    Okay, I have rambled enough on your page 😉

    My point is, to me, you’re a writer if you enjoy it. No matter if you do it often, or barely once a month, even a year! If you have the passion, if you have the drive, then you are allowed to call yourself a writer.

    • emimakes January 26, 2011 at 2:36 am #

      Yea, I’ve definitely heard the “you need to stop editing it on its way out” thing before – but it’s easier said than done for me so far. I am working on that though. Recently I did sit down for a solid hour and just write – and I didn’t allow myself to backspace for anything. haha.

      I want to do NaNoWriMo this year, for sure. I can totally identify with what you said about being in cosmetology school and hairdressing – I work full-time in the field as well as going to school, and it is really such a draining profession in so many ways. Quite aside from the simple lack of available time, when I DO have that time available I’m usually so exhausted I don’t really want to do much of anything with it other than just relax.

  2. Randall January 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Goddammit, Emi. Write something.

    I haven’t read your thing yet, and that makes me a bad friend. But imagine how much worse I’d feel if you kept doing stuff I wasn’t allowed to read until I finish the first thing you sent me.

    • emimakes January 26, 2011 at 2:37 am #

      well, I only read like two pages of the thing you sent me, so I think we’re even. haha.

      but if you send me back input on what I sent you, maybe I’ll send you something new. your threat could actually work out really well for me. 🙂

      • Randall January 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

        Does not bode well for the quality of my writing that you couldn’t get past page 2.

        I’ll have some stuff coming your way soonish. I’m way behind after some computer trouble, but I’m catching up slowly.

  3. kate February 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Have you ever checked out The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron? Unfortunately, it doesn’t give you any more hours in the day, or days in the week, but it does give you a framework to make writing a habit and address any issues that may be blocking you. (It’s one of my resolutions to finally complete it!) It may be a better first step than reading about publishing 🙂

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